Does anyone remember when the subways were able to run even in the event of rain? Could it possibly be, like the Jake Gyllenhaal movie warned us, that the weather is getting worse, or are we just remembering the past through rose-tinted goggles, like when a latte cost less than $4, we didn’t have meaningless words like “metrosexual,” straight guys didn’t get more pedicures than their girlfriends, no one talked about putting things in their Netflix queue, and your average 24-year-old socialite could read at least at the fourth-grade level? Sigh. Tonight, if you are the kind of person who entertains fantasies about pen lights and pretension, head to New York University for the “So You Wanna Be a Critic” lecture. Various New York movie critics such as New York magazine’s Peter Rainer, Entertainment Weekly ’s Lisa Schwarzbaum, Newsday ’s Linda Winer and, sadly, The New Yorker ’s not Anthony ( Hello, ladies!) Lane but David Denby. “The idea is to hear how people got to where they are now, the paths they took and what advice they’d give out to aspiring critics,” said the event’s rep. Good luck with that! Down in Battery Park City, another museum we’d never heard of, the Skyscraper Museum, starts a four-month run of a Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit. We love the word “skyscraper” ’cause it’s one of those fun words that means what it is (like “scarecrow”), but apparently Mr. Wright was fascinated by the form itself. And by the way, if you think we are ever— ever —going up into one of the tall buildings they’re planning to build at Ground Zero, you are cray-zee. Nuts. Insane. Bonkers. Bats in the belfry. O.K.? [“So You Wanna Be a Critic,” Kimmel Center, Silver Board Room No. 914, 60 Washington Square South, 6:30 to 8 p.m., http://www.cencom.org; Frank Lloyd Wright: The Vertical Dimension, the Skyscraper Museum, 39 Battery Place, noon to 6 p.m., http://www.skyscraper.org.]
Ask yourself how often the opportunity comes along to breathe the very same air as a real-life knight (seeing Elton John at Da Silvano doesn’t count). Sir Harold Evans, writer and historian (and who very sweetly does not insist on being referred to as “Sir”), celebrates the launch of his new book, They Made America: From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine. The book, which is a history of innovation in the United States told through the inventors and entrepreneurs—and the basis of a four-part series of the same name that will air on PBS in November—was the end product of five years of research. “As I got into this thing, it was like Aladdin going into his cave and rubbing his lamp,” said Mr. Evans. “As I kept rubbing this lamp, I was astonished at the riches I kept discovering.” Mr. Evans is so enthusiastic about his subject that he apparently drove his wife (somebody by the name of Tina Brown) and anyone else within earshot nuts: “I found myself starting a lot of conversations with, ‘Did you know that Edison did so-and-so?’” he said. Tonight he sits down with Oscar de la Renta (innovator of flounce), Fred Smith (innovator of FedEx), Martin Scorsese (innovator of film), Ted Turner (innovator of, among other things, the new Jane Fonda) and Mark Gumz (innovator of digital-camera-making Olympus, but more importantly the corporate sponsor of the whole shebang), for a conversation about—what else?—innovation and the American dream. Meanwhile, hard to believe that John Lennon would have turned 64 years old this Saturday, thus reaching the once far-flung age he wondered about in “When I’m 64.” In honor of his birthday, Yoko Ono and Bag One Arts will be showing over 100 pieces of artwork drawn by Lennon tonight through Sunday. Even further south of Houston, more artists wondering if we’ll still need them—or, more importantly, if we’ll still feed them—will be at the 2004 Starving Artists Ball held on Norfolk (natch) Street. Michael Imperioli, a.k.a. Christopher Moltisanti on The Sopranos, whose credit as writer on any episode makes us throw spoons at the television, is the keynote speaker at the event, which raises grant money for an up-and-coming New York City–based artist. The invitation says attire is “downtownformal” —which can only mean a glittery H&M halter top over a pair of $200 Roganjeans and$400 Louboutin heels (total cost of your outfit: $615) and lots of facial hair and untucked shirts on the boys. Tuck ’em in, fellas—we’re at war! [They Made America: From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine: Two Centuries of Innovators discussion, the Broadhurst Theater, 235 West 44th Street, 6:30 p.m., 917-250-4232; “When I’m 64,” 102 Wooster Street, 5 to 9 p.m., 212-595-5537; 2004 Starving Artists Ball, the Angel Orensanz Foundation, 172 Norfolk Street at Houston, 8 p.m.; 212-279-4200.]
Queer Guy, Punk Guy: Carson Kressley, the flaxen-locked fashion guy from Bravo’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, perhaps inevitably has written a fashion book, Off the Cuff: The Essential Style Guide for Men and the Women Who Love Them. Chapter titles include “The Devil Wears Pleated Khakis” and tries to put male fashion into straight-man-friendly language (page 71: “Cashmere is the flat-screen TV of yarns. It’s the Super Bowl of sweaters”)—and the pages even sort of smell good. We found Mr. Kressley in his apartment in Chelsea (“the gay heartland,” he said), on a break from his book tour. “Well, what I really wanted to do was rescue tea-cup Yorkies, but I found out there weren’t any available, so I decided to do this instead,” said Mr. Kressley. Mr. Kressley agreed with us that “metrosexual” was a term that had to be stopped ( “Doesn’t it just sound like having sex on a train?”) and considered an alternative phrase. “What about just calling them ‘ Men who highlight their hair but still sleep with women ’” he offered. For those who would like to get up close to the wit of Mr. Kressley, he’ll be discussing his book today at the Wall Street Borders. Speaking of New Yorkers with highlighted hair, local bands such as Blondie, Sonic Youth and the shaggy-haired Strokes pay tribute tonight to punk legend Johnny Ramone, who passed away from prostate cancer on Sept. 15 (and who would have turned 56 today), with a concert to benefiting the Cedars Sinai Cancer Research Center and the Lymphoma Cancer Research Foundation. “The event was Johnny’s idea,” said Arturo Vega, the Ramones’ longtime creative director and event organizer. “We planned it five months ago. Even though Johnny’s health was getting more and more fragile, he always insisted that the event go on as planned. He said he didn’t want to disappoint the fans, even in the event of his own death.” [Carson Kressley’s Off the Cuff: The Essential Style Guide for Men and the Women Who Love Them talk and signing, Borders, 100 Broadway, 1 p.m., http://www.carsonkressley.com; “Be Well: The Ramones Beat on Cancer” concert, Spirit Nightclub, 530 West 27th Street, 6 p.m. 212-268-9477.]
If you woke up wanting a little more autumn in your diet —and who wouldn’t?—try to get past all the Scandinavian tourists (we thought the rest of the world hated us—what gives?) and head over to the 25th annual “Crafts on Columbus,” now in its second of a three-weekend run, between the American Museum of Natural History and the Rose Center for Earth and Space. The press release brags that artisans will set up booths on the sidewalk” and showcase jewelry, candles, clocks and something about “functional household furnishings.” Next! If you’re really in the mood to see what we’re guessing can only be a freak show of epic proportions, dare to enter Madison Square Garden today for the C.F.A./IAMS Cat Show New York, where 325 “competitive felines” (me- ow!) compete for best-in-show honors. There is a cat supermarket, an Ask the Vet center, a showcase of different breeds and even (meep) something about a cat-cloning exhibition. Look, we love cats, but this really does sound like an awful lot of pussy (sorry).
[Autumn Crafts on Columbus, Columbus Avenue between 77th and 81st streets, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., 212-866-2239; C.F.A./IAMS Cat Show New York, Madison Square Garden, Seventh Avenue between 31st and 34th streets, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., 877-232-7469.]
If you’re one of those people who dream of fame and riches, but you don’t have a trust fund to start designing handbags or the option to star in a reality show, head down to the Virgin Megastore for a “Mega-Search” for “Mega-Stars” ( sigh) today. The Web site says, “For those who have that special something—exceptional talent, looks or star-quality” (the “or” is an important distinction, people). At the Union Square store location, participants will be interviewed by a “top talent-scout/agent,” and the chosen few will be offered a contract on the spot. This must be the American dream that Sir Harry was referring to! If reading the above made you feel as if you need to get back into nature tout suite, get up to beautiful Wave Hill for a wildlife walk with naturalist (not to be confused with nudist) Gabriel Willow, who will show you “songbirds migrating from their northern breeding grounds to their southern wintering grounds.”
[Virgin Megastore’s Mega-Search, Virgin Megastore, 14th Street and Broadway, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., http://www.searchformegastars.com; Wildlife Walk, Wave Hill, 249th Street and Independence Avenue, 8:30 a.m., http://www.wavehill.org.]
Well, it’s Columbus Day, which is a controversial holiday for some and another opportunity to stick you with a destination wedding for others. If you’re in town, we’re sure there’s a parade somewhere with some Sopranos
cast members about. Or go in the opposite direction and try to crash a breakfast with Mikhail Gorbachev here to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Green Cross International, an environmental organization that he established. Or focus on our own national leaders through something warm and fuzzy—their pets! Mo Rocca, former Daily Show correspondent and current talking head on various VH1 shows, has written All The President’s Pets: The Story of One Reporter Who Refused to Roll Over, and will be at the Union Square Barnes & Noble today. “It’s a thriller starring me and Helen Thomas,” deadpanned Mr. Rocca of his intense and comprehensive research on Presidential pets and their influence on the country. O.K.! Now we’ve always said that the one thing this city doesn’t have nearly enough of are yoga studios ( sigh) and stringy yoga teachers (essentially former aerobics teachers with incense), so we’re pleased that a glamorous new studio is opening, run by the clearly well-connected Sadie Nardini and Eliazabeth Rossa (close friend of the ubiquitous and disturbingly tall nightclub hostess Amy Sacco —did her movie deal with Graydon come through yet?). Their fancy friends will be showing up to celebrate tonight in Tribeca, and rumored to show are the aforementioned Ms. Sacco, the apparently flexible (judging from Showgirls)
Gina Gershon, Flamingo Kid Matt Dillon, Tribeca lurker Fisher (what the hell does he do all day?) Stevens and Law & Order ’s Jesse Martin. Crash strategy: wear a poncho (which are making a distressing comeback). Better still: stay home and scrub your sticky mat! [Mikhail Gorbachev Green Cross International breakfast, Hotel Plaza Athénée, 37 East 64th Street, 9 a.m., by invitation only; All the President’s Pets: The Story of One Reporter Who Refused to Roll Over reading, Barnes & Noble Union Square, 7 p.m., http://www.allthepresidentspets.com; Shri Yoga party, 443 Greenwich Street, 7 to 10 p.m., by invitation only.]
The British are coming! It seems it’s time again to pretend like this men-wearing-kilts thing will actually make it to the city streets and not just be associated with Prince Charles or Axl Rose. Today Howie Nicholsby, designer of 21st Century Kilts, will be holding fittings at the Roosevelt Hotel for custom-made kilts in “funky slashed leather and denim.” Yikes. Speaking of the British Isles, Christie’s, that great old bastion of auctioning and impressive invitations, will have a champagne reception for the British Memorial Garden Trust this evening, with “an illustrated talk” by the Earl of Lichfield. The real draw appears to be the preview of an upcoming auction, “Important English Furniture” (whose title inexplicably cracks us up). Crash strategy: don’t bathe for three days.
[21st Century Kilts fittings, Roosevelt Hotel, Madison at 45th Street, Fifth Avenue Suite, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., 678-571-4746; the British Memorial Garden Trust champagne reception, Christie’s, 20 Rockefeller Plaza, 6 to 9 p.m., 212-682-7945.]
Well, here we are again, and we’ve discovered a new wrinkle in our America’s Next Top Model addiction. The great evil genius that is Disney has put its new talked-about show, Lost (which, for the first time, we literally saw discussed around a water cooler) against the UPN little reality show that could. What to do? Pray you can figure out the VCR. [America’s Next Top Model, UPN, 8 p.m.; Lost, ABC, 8 p.m.]